MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Up until a few years ago the local "Senior Stretch Program", now called "50 plus Exercise Program" was sponsored by the MSU Evening College but was eliminated by the university upon reorganization.
According to Meridian Township Parks and Land Management Coordinator Jane Greenway, the Meridian Mall was concerned about the class continuing in their food court without University support due to insurance liabilities.
The folks at Meridian Township Parks and Recreation department worked some magic and were able to put the senior exercising class on the township's insurance and allow the program to continue.
"There's no pressure, it's not like everybody's looking at you and saying 'Oh my gosh look, he can't do that'! You do what you can. If you can't do the stand up exercises, don't stand up". Says group volunteer leader, Georganne Withey.
"We have a great time," she adds, "we're a very social group. We sing, we exercise and we just have fun because staying alive is staying fun."
The biggest difference between the newer program and the MSU supported program Greenway says is that the program used to be free through MSU, and now seniors must pay a one dollar fee per class to participate. That money in turn is used to give back to the program such as the purchase of t-shirts, exercise bands, and refreshments.
Participants in the 50 plus exercise program range in age between 50 to 100 years old and head to the Meridian Mall to exercise every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 8:30 am and 9:30 am.